A staff checks on the solar cell installed at the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry in Jakarta on March 2, 2016. (Antara PhotoMuhammad Adimaja)

Saving the Planet with Zero-Carbon-Ready Buildings


JUNE 15, 2021

Jakarta. Zero-carbon-ready buildings can pave the path to net zero emission by 2050 and save the planet from climate crisis, according to a recent conference on energy efficiency.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) revealed building operational carbon emission currently accounts for 28 percent of the global energy-related emissions. If we take into account the manufacture of building and construction materials, this figure can jump up to 40 percent.


The IEA has also identified the necessary milestones for the world to achieve the ambitious 2050 goal.

"All new buildings would need to be zero-carbon-ready by 2030," IEA policy analyst Maxine Jordan told the Indonesia Energy Efficiency and Conservation Conference and Exhibition (IEECCE) on Monday.

A zero-carbon-ready building prioritizes energy efficiency and uses locally available, renewable sources for its energy supply. It also considers the embodied carbon emission associated with its construction. 

"These principles can be integrated into building codes, which seem to be the most effective measure to influence the design and construction of a new building," Maxine said.

Given the urgency of net zero, Maxine recommends governments make building energy codes mandatory and integrate them in a complete policy package.

This policy package should also ensure compliance and delivery mechanisms are in place, Maxine noted. 

The urgency of net zero buildings has also drawn property giant Sinarmas Land's attention.

Their Green Office Park 9 in BSD City has switched from grass rooftops into photovoltaics with a capacity of 154 kilowatt-peak, according to Sinarmas Land representative Ignesjz Kemalawarta.

Ignesz urged fellow industry players to become more environmentally aware. Green buildings may have higher investment costs than traditional buildings, but their operational costs are significantly lower, Ignesjz said.

"The government should also give incentives for photovoltaic production so they can be delivered to the building industry at a lower cost. [This will help increase] the use of renewable energy to meet the national target," he added.

According to Maxine, the right incentive will really depend on the specific challenge that needs to be overcome.

The government can provide non-financial incentives such as extra floor area or faster permit processing. Financial incentives like tax rebates and specific grants are also possible.

"An important hurdle also tends to be access to finance, therefore providing soft loans, government guarantees, or more attractive borrowing terms could also be particularly effective," Maxine said.